I've been building up the Iron Warriors force for about two years now and they are almost finished. At about 3500 points with a full set of choices for Elites, Fast Attack, and Heavy Support, I feel like it's about as solid as I can make it given the state of the current codex. I figured that was worthy of some time at the top of the blog.
It's funny - my original plan was to make them an ally force option for my demon army (to give them some shooting) or my Nurgle marines (in case I got tired of my "no tanks" mandate for that force) but along the way they kind of jumped in front of both of those to become my "main" chaos force. Why? I'd say it's because 1) I didn't really put any restrictions on the force and 2) they're really easy to paint, at least to a decent tabletop standard. That makes a huge difference in getting them to the table.
You'd think Nurgle stuff would be easy to paint and it id to a degree but there are many many versions of a "Nurgle" paint scheme - some people will go old school bright green and purple, some will go more rust or brown and paler green, and other will go with the Death Guard scheme of white and green. It's difficult to keep a consistent look to the army if you add in some already painted pieces because there's so much variety out there.
Iron Warriors have none of that trouble. It's metal all the way - silver, bronze/gold, and some yellow and black hazard stripes here and there. It's a scheme that looks great on the table and one that is easy to match or blend.
Here's a breakdown of where things stand:
- Chaos Lord on foot in power armor with powerfist and lightning claw
- Warpsmith with the usual gear, also on foot
- Demon prince with wings and psyker levels - usually Tzeentch
- Sorcerer on a bike, usually unmarked
A normal CAD means only two of these guys make it to each fight but I like options. It's hard to fit a 300 point demon prince into a 500 or 750 point game so the warpsmith often shows up there. If I'm not taking my Iron Bikers squad the sorcerer stays home and the Chaos Lord jumps into a Rhino, usually with the plague marines. The plan for the future is that most of the time, at 1500+ the prince and the psyker biker will be leading the army.
- 3 ten man squads of chaos marines - one with double plasma, one with double flamers, and one with plasma gun and missile launcher. The first two are usually in rhinos.
This is not a terribly efficient setup but I don't play chaos marines to play cultists. The missile squad holds a backfield objective while the other two go get into trouble.
- Heldrake with a baleflamer
- Five chaos spawn
- Six chaos bikers
The Heldrake is still a terror against marine types. The spawn are one of my favorite units in the book and have a ton of uses and are fast - something the chaos marines need.
The bikers are a unit I am still building and I am torn on what weapons to give them. Melta makes a lot of sense for mobile anti-tank but relentless means they could take plasma guns and still charge a unit. They will spend a lot of time Nurgle-marked to increase their lifespan as they are also the bodyguard for the sorcerer. An unmarked sorcerer can take biomancy among other things and he would want to be in melee if he does. It's a difficult choice.
- Triple-lascannon Predator
- Havocs with 4 autocannons
The predator is the old standby for chaos anti-tank. It has a tough time vs. AV14 but anything else is a fairly easy kill. I've toyed with the idea of a second one to fill that last spot but I'm not sure I want to go that heavy on these.
The havocs are another chaos standard. Nobody else can field good autocannons this easily so I feel like I have to take them. They're also just so damned useful, reliably putting five to six S7 hits on anything within 48 inches. They threaten bikes, most vehicles, monstrous creatures, and most infantry. They're worth taking in every battle.
The third slot is really my most up-in-the-air position in the army. Could go with a 2nd predator - more strong anti-tank is a good thing. I could grab a three-man obliterator squad as they are tough and versatile but two of them cost as much as the predator! My main inclination so far has been "Maulerfiend" - it's fast, tough enough, and another form of anti-tank too. In the full army if it's running upfield alongside 3 rhinos. the spawn, and a biker squad then that's a lot of fast targets for an enemy to deal with. I'm leaning towards it but I haven't picked one up just yet.
- Five Plague Marines with double plasma, usually in a rhino
- Eight Berserkers
- Helbrute with a plasma cannon and a power fist
This section is due for some changes.
The plague marines have done really well for me but I do want to limit the amount of marked troops in the army as that's never been the Iron Warriors main thing. If I take either of the two foot-mounted HQ's they usually ride in the Rhino with these guys. It makes for a pretty nasty little squad.
The Helbrute, well, I just like the model, it seems fitting for an IW force, and it's one of the few ways to get a plasma cannon on the table in a chaos marine army and that's a weapon I just find useful. Sure, occasionally it overheats and hurts the dread or the blast deviates into your own guys but quite a bit of the time it removes heavily armored infantry from the table.
The berserkers are there in case I want heavy melee but I rarely take them and no longer think they really fit the army. They will probably transfer to the Khorne Daemonkin force that's taking shape on another shelf in the room.
Replacing the berserkers will likely be a unit of chosen. You can get 4 or 5 special weapons into a chosen squad and I am coming around on the idea of going full melta with these guys. I'll probably put them in a rhino so I'm either going to need one more or somebody else is going to lose their ride. They're vets (so 2 attacks base) and they keep their pistols and chainswords so they can stand up in melee as well. I think 5 or 6 of them plus their champion, plus a warpsmith would make a nasty nasty package up close.
I'm also looking at some terminators. They're not the strongest unit anymore but I have quite a few old metal chaos termies sitting around and they could do the drop-melta termicide thing (when I can;t afford the mayhem pack) or switch to backfield/anti-drop-pod work with a reaper cannon and a bunch of powerfists.
It's good to have options.
This force started out as an allied detachment, then quickly grew into a full combined arms detachment and is now straining the seams of that a little bit. I already had a ground-pounding force of mostly plague marines. I wanted something different.
My biggest concern was speed - much of the current version of the game requires decent mobility for seizing objectives and reacting to enemy movement. Rhinos are an OK start, but I wanted more. The bikers, the Heldrake, and the spawn are all aimed at that same goal: something that is both fast and a serious threat to enemy units. With the force I have now all of the HQs, all of my troops, most of my elites, and all of my fast attack are able to cover 12" or more in that very first movement phase, leaving only the havocs and the helbrute and maybe a tac squad in the backfield. It's still a little short on anti-vehicle firepower though, in my opinion. Marine armies have the sternguard in a drop pod, the multi-melta dreadnought in a drop pod, multimelta speeders, and multimelta attack bikes that can all threaten even the heaviest of tanks on Turn 1 and I wanted something like that. There's nothing that good in the CSM codex, but there is one dataslate: Enter the Mayhem Pack
- Three Helbrutes each with a Mutlimelta, a Heavy Flamer, and a powerfist
The dataslate special rule is that they all get It Will Not Die (nice) and this:
Mayhem from the Maelstrom:
All of the units in this Formation must begin the game in Reserve. When making Reserve Rolls, make a single roll for the entire Formation. On a successful Reserves Roll, all of the units in this formation arrive from Reserve by Deep Strike.
Yes! Deep striking chaos dreadnoughts! With those weapons they can threaten every unit in the game, and they can drop in anywhere on the table! It's just the type of unit a chaos force should have.
Now admittedly the last time I used them one immobilized himself in some woods, one was out of range of anything and then was blown up before he could do anything but the third actually got to hurt some people. It's roughly 350 points to build them out like this but they are a ton of fun and can really change up the game.
So that's the force as of now. I'll finish up the bikes this week, figure out what I'm doing with my elites, and maybe get in a game next weekend. More to come!